Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Vanilla and Cinnamon Glaze

April 28, 2011

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Sweet sweet cake, is there anything more blissful than coming home or waking up to you? For me, happiness is always found in comforting slices of moist crumbs and sweet icing (cue the angel choir and heavenly white light hehe).

My friends, I trust you all had the most fabulous Easter (5 days off!). But it was also a brisk and chilly holiday for Sydneysiders as temperatures plummeted and the skies opened up for a drizzling. Autumn is definitely doing its job of preparing us for winter.

Toasted nuts, sweet potato, brown sugar and the quintessential spices of cinnamon and nutmeg all come together in this cake that just screams autumn. It is ridiculously easy to make and it’s soft and moist beyond belief. I’m fast becoming a fan of oil-based cakes for the texture and the absence of creaming butter and sugar because in my household during the colder months, it’s almost near impossible to get the butter to proper room temperature without resorting to fire and drastic measures. A lashing of a cinnamon-kissed, vanilla-speckled icing glaze adds the final sweet touch to this earthy beauty.

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For now, my hometown is tinted in shades of browns and oranges and I’m now happily dressing up in scarves, black woolly tights and boots. Food wise, my larder is burgeoning with the likes of potatoes and pumpkins and I’m just constantly yearning for spiced cakes of all shapes and sizes. No surprises then that this particular number will definitely be repeated over and over again. Like a pair of black leather boots, this cake just never goes out of style.

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Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Vanilla and Cinnamon Glaze


1 large sweet potato (about 400g)
50g pecan (halves or pieces, plus extra to garnish)
200g cake flour (or 170g plain flour and 30g cornflour)
4 tsps baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1.5 tsps of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
240g light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
180ml of canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract


Peel the sweet potato and slice in half lengthways. In a microwave or over simmering water, steam the potato until tender (a knife should pierce through the flesh easily). Mash until smooth and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile toast the pecan nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Keep an eye on them because they’ll burn easily. Remove from heat and roughly chop them, setting aside a handful of pecan halves/pieces to garnish the cake.

Preheat oven to 175°C and grease a bundt tin (about 2.5 litre capacity).

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir through the cooled nuts.

In a large mixer bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, canola oil and vanilla for a few minutes until smooth and thickened. Beat in the mashed sweet potato and whisk until smooth.

Add in the flour mixture and beat until completely combined. Scrape batter into bundt tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. The cake should spring back when lightly pressed and the sides would have shrunk away from the tin slightly.

Remove from oven and cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out the cakes onto a lightly greased wire rack. Cool completely.

Place the cake and the rack onto a baking tray lined with foil or baking paper. Slowly pour half the glaze over the cake and let it run over the sides. Leave to set and dry before adding another layer of glaze. Stud the top with the extra pecans to garnish and leave aside to ‘set’ before serving.

(Note, don’t do what I did! I rushed through the glaze and it was too runny. Then my lazy ass decided to just pour and go instead of doing a second layer. As you can see, my cake wasn’t as thickly glazed as I would’ve liked).

Vanilla and Cinnamon Glaze


90-100ml of milk (approximately)
1 small vanilla bean (can be replaced with 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste)
300g icing sugar sifted
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (sifted with the icing sugar)


Halve the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into the milk, add in the pod and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes until fragrant. If you’re using the paste, skip this step.

Remove the pod and discard. Add about 3/4 of the milk into the sifted sugar and whisk until sugar has dissolved and the glaze is smooth and speckled with vanilla (add the paste now if using).

The glaze should be opaque and thick but still runny enough to pour out slowly. Add more milk to thin it out or more sifted sugar to thicken it. If it’s too runny, the glaze would just get absorbed into the cake and run off too quickly.

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Cake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum. Glaze inspired from Spicy Ice Cream and adapted from Pioneer Woman.